(BLOG) -- It’s no secret that social media has changed the way we communicate, but social media has become even more than communication, it has changed the way news is covered around the world. Social media has an important role when it comes to news coverage, I understand this especially because it is my job. There is something special about the immediacy of social media. You can get the latest updates on a big story as things are happening. It also makes news easy and fun to share.
Now we have even become dependent on it. I remember the big freak-out when twitter was briefly down across much of the planet for a few hours. I have also followed other stories about the social media site including “cashtags,” a way to track stocks and a political “twindex” for the upcoming presidential election.
In the world of sports you can follow your favorite athletes, coaches and journalists on twitter for the latest news about their personal and professional lives. The first time I became alarmed about how social media is changing the world of sports is when ESPN’s Sports Center Anchor Stuart Scott replaced his catchphrase “booyah” with “like my status” (a Facebook reference). Sports Center has also implemented a way for viewers to help choose their top ten plays through you guessed it, social media. Viewers can submit their favorite plays by tweeting with the hashtag “#SCtop10.” With all of these trends in social media the Summer Olympics presented an interesting opportunity for learning more about how to best utilize social media.
NBC Universal promoted the hashtag “#Olympics” during their broadcasts of the games. This seemed to be the most popular way to post about the Olympics and to search for the latest updates. The big dilemma here in the United States was that the major events of the games such as gymnastics, track and swimming were not broadcast live. The events that would bring in the most ratings were broadcasted during the evening primetime hours instead.
This presented a particular problem for social media users. Should you check on twitter and Facebook to see who won, or should you just wait to watch the events on television later at night? Many media outlets, including WHAS11, tried to find the perfect balance. You cannot withhold news from the public but you did not want to accidentally spoil it for someone. There were lots of “spoiler alerts” on social media so people could check the results if they wanted to. While some people, including myself, were upset about having to wait to watch Olympic events, ratings were still high. In fact ratings were even higher than the past Summer Olympics in Beijing.
We are still learning how to best utilize social media in news and sports coverage. Twitter seems to be the dominant site right now, but the thing about social media is that it is always changing. You can let me know what you think about this topic by sending an e-mail to firstname.lastname@example.org and as always thanks for reading!
About me: I graduated from the University of Kentucky with a degree in Broadcast Journalism and a minor in Communications. I’ve worked with ESPNU, UK Student News Network, LEX 18 and now I'm a web producer at WHAS11. I’m a loyal Kentucky Wildcats, Buffalo Bills, Minnesota Vikings and Los Angeles Lakers fan. Follow me on twitter @NickiSue456.